Kathleen Wynne has won the Ontario Liberal leadership race and is set to become the first female premier in Ontario and the sixth female premier currently in office in the 10 provinces and the territories. Including Ms. Wynne, three of them have yet to lead their party through an election campaign.
Eva Aariak, Nunavut: Ms. Aariak, 58, worked as a journalist, operated a retail store and also served as the first languages commissioner of Nunavut before deciding to seek election in 2008. Ms. Aariak said she was “floored” and “disappointed” about being the only woman elected that year, and suggested the territory revisit a proposal for gender parity in the 19-member legislature. Ms. Aariak was chosen premier under the territory’s consensus-style government, and was sworn in as Nunavut’s second premier and first female leader in November, 2008. She has four children and three grandchildren.
Christy Clark, British Columbia: Ms. Clark became the second woman to serve as B.C. premier when she took office in March, 2011, 20 years after Rita Johnston – the first female premier in Canada. The Sorbonne-educated Ms. Clark was first elected to the legislature in 1996 and was appointed deputy premier and minister of education in 2001. The 47-year-old took a break for five years in 2005, working as a columnist and radio show host, but returned to politics in 2010 in a successful bid for the leadership of the Liberal Party.
Kathy Dunderdale, Newfoundland and Labrador: The 60-year-old was a town councillor and deputy mayor of Burin before being elected to the legislature in 2003. She served as minister of innovation, trade, rural development, natural resources and as deputy premier. She was sworn in as the province’s first female premier in December, 2010, after her highly popular predecessor Danny Williams resigned. She became Newfoundland and Labrador’s first elected female premier less than a year later, leading the Progressive Conservatives to a third consecutive majority government in October, 2011. She is widowed with two children.
Pauline Marois, Quebec: Ms. Marois was a social services administrator, political attaché and university professor before entering politics. She was first elected to the legislature in 1981 and held various cabinet portfolios in Parti Québécois governments, including finance, health, and education, as well as deputy premier for two years. She twice lost bids for the PQ leadership – in 1985 and 2005 – but was acclaimed as PQ leader in 2007. She lost the 2008 election, but led her party to a minority victory in September, 2012. Ms. Marois, 63, is married with four children.
Alison Redford, Alberta: The 47-year-old lawyer was first elected in 2008 after working for former prime ministers Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. Before that, she had travelled the globe helping democratic reforms in places like Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa. Ms. Redford served as justice minister before winning the party leadership and being sworn in as premier in October, 2011. She led the Progressive Conservatives to a majority victory in a provincial election in 2012. This was considered an upset after a slew of polls had suggested the Wildrose Party was en route to ending the PC dynasty. Ms. Redford is married and has one daughter, Sarah.
Female representation in Canada’s provinces and territories, by number of seats
33% Quebec: 41 of 125
32% British Columbia: 27 of 85
32% Yukon: 6 of 19
28% Ontario: 30 of 107
28% Manitoba: 16 of 57
26% Alberta: 23 of 87
23% Nova Scotia: 12 of 52
22% Prince Edward Island: 6 of 27
19% Saskatchewan: 11 of 58
17% Newfoundland and Labrador: 8 of 48
16% Nunavut: 3 of 19
13% New Brunswick: 7 of 55
10.5% Northwest Territories: 2 of 19
Source: Parliament of Canada
The Canadian Press